The Invitation of Wide Open Spaces

When trouble surrounded me, I cried out to the Eternal; He answered me and brought me to a wide, open space.   Psalm 118:5-6 The Voice 

We finally took down our Christmas tree. We left it up much later this year than is usual for us. We were savouring the lights in the early mornings and evenings. Our rabbit loved to sit under it. So we lingered at the tree a little longer.

But this weekend it was time for it to come down. I took off all the decorations. My husband and our oldest son dismantled it. (Too many allergies for a real tree, sadly.) Then my husband cleaned up not only the mess from the tree (yes fake ones have needles that fall off too!) but the whole room too. He managed to clear up in an hour what I haven’t been able to do in a week.  (I KNOW!)

My point?  This morning, I am enjoying some space.

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The Christmas tree is beautiful but it takes up some prized real estate in the house. After it’s down, the house always seems to expand.

It’s not just the house that is feeling roomy. As I look at the weeks ahead, my calendar is looking rather empty. I had to take some breathing room and I said no to some regular commitments.

It’s a good feeling to have space. To be able to exhale. To take stock. To rest. There is something freeing about having space to move, to think and to be.

I came across this verse from Psalm 118 this morning. I have always found it interesting that God not only answered the writer but took him to a wide, open space. Why? The psalmist says God had answered him. Does that mean that the answer was He took him to an open space? He was rescued by being taken away?

Or does it mean something else?

That in the open, when you have space, things can suddenly become clear? Chaos fades.

When clarity comes, you can see. Things you missed in the claustrophobia of busy, of deadlines, of to do. Clarity brings into focus what is important, what was being blocked by the frenzy and the panic of the rush. The walls that close in as we try to do more, as we try to control.  As we give in to fear.

In a wide open space you can see God. Because He fills it but there’s nothing claustrophobic about Him. A wide open space will let you see see yourself in relationship to Him. What does it look like? How far away are you from Him? How close?

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The next verse, the Psalmist says, The Eternal is with me, so I will not be afraid of anything. If God is on my side, how can anyone hurt me?
Maybe being brought to the wide open space, he could see that God was indeed right beside him so he could be brave. With a God so big that he fills the world with His presence, what was there to be afraid of? Maybe the psalmist saw that in the wide open space.

I could be totally wrong. I’m not a biblical scholar. I’m fascinated by wide open spaces.  I like them.  A.Lot.

Besides opening our eyes to the presence of God, a wide open space can do a few other useful things for us.

 

Wide open spaces invites deep cleansing breaths. Which clears the fog and cobwebs.

Wide open spaces entices one to lie down and rest. To gaze at the sky. To bring your body to stillness.

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Wide open spaces also inspires creativity. After the rest, comes art. A wide open space is a dance floor, and it calls for some dancing! Or skipping. Running. It lets imagination and play run wild.

Wide open spaces suggest an emptying of what is not needed and a filling of what is.

Wide open spaces are a wooing from the Eternal to draw close and see Him in the open. Like we never have before. To see Him as our Defender. Our friend. As our one and only God. As Creator. As Lover.

I look at my wide open calendar spaces. They have the feel of an invitation. To come. To see. To experience. To get to know Him as He fills in the blanks.

What about you?  Do you have any wide open spaces?  Or do you need to make some room so you can have some space?  What do you see in those wide open spaces?

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